Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria

MOM's got the mother of all dungeons

There%26rsquo;s pressure on MMO developers to get their dungeons right, but imagine the crunch on Turbine to nail literature%26rsquo;s darkest, deepest, and most revered subterranean world (sorry, Batcave). As the first full retail expansion pack for LOTRO, Mines of Moria opens up the long-dormant Dwarven capital of Khazad-dum and its surrounding areas, drawing the player into the struggle to re-establish Dwarven supremacy beneath Middle-earth.

Your entry into Moria takes place a few weeks after the Fellowship passes through, as you join a plucky bunch of Dwarves in their expedition to break past the Hollin Gate. It%26rsquo;s not as simple as kicking down a door - a vicious squid-like monster called The Watcher attacks, and you must beat a retreat. To ward off the creature and gain access to Moria, you must return with a legendary weapon. For Turbine, it%26rsquo;s these items that anchor its new advancement system - one we reckon its competitors could be copying wholesale very soon.

Overall, legendary weapons are meant as a distinct avenue for driving up players%26rsquo; attachment to their loot. You%26rsquo;ll gather ingredients to start, and take them to a specialist NPC called a Forge Master. Once they%26rsquo;ve identified your materials and melded them into a legendary weapon, the weapon will level alongside your character, gaining experience that can be put into %26ldquo;legacies%26rdquo; to improve characteristics.

As your legendary weapon approaches higher levels, it%26rsquo;ll become a mobile quest hub (any missions that stem from it vary based on the type of arm you forged, too). Because your lance is going to be handing you side-quests, we should think of legendary items more as companions than common loot, says LOTRO%26rsquo;s Executive Producer, Jeffrey Steefel. They%26rsquo;re also a source of solo play for high-level characters nearing the end game, and for Steefel, that%26rsquo;s a big deal. %26ldquo;We think that%26rsquo;s huge. It%26rsquo;s a whole new dynamic for elder players to be able to do something really cool, really extensible, that they can do with people or without people.%26rdquo;

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